I tend to compare the Thrashers and the Blues quite a bit. Other than the fact that they're my two favorite teams, there have been some shocking similarities over the years: wonky weird goaltending, a solid youth movement, a future to look forward to, lots of alcohol consumption by the fans... the list is endless.
Both the Blues and Thrashers have been drafting well recently, with the Blues snagging the likes of TJ Oshie, Erik Johnson, Alex Pietrangelo, Patrik Berglund, and David Perron. The Thrashers, of course, have Bryan Little, Zach Bogosian, Evander Kane, and new arrival Alexander Burmistrov to hang their hats on. Burmistrov has been quoted as saying that Pavel Datsyuk, Slava Kozlov, and Max Afinogenov are some of his heroes - no focus on the flashy new style of Russian play for this kid. He's not seeking to emulate Alexander Ovechkin or Ilya Kovalchuk - he wants to be a smart playmaker instead. A good many people saw the fact that he is Russian and have incorrectly assumed that the franchise was trying to "replace" Kovalchuk. After the season started, people looked at his slim offensive output and the fact that the opposition liked to run at him, and thought that after eight games were up he needed to go back to the Barrie Colts.·
Again proving that coaches are smarter than bloggers, Craig Ramsay has put Burmistrov in the line-up every night since the season started, trying to get him going. He's still getting targeted by other guys, but that's because he's doing his job so well. Burmistrov creates chances, and last night he created this one for himself:
I liked what Darren Eliot called this move: "dangelicious." Burmistrov has outstanding puck handling skills to go with an awareness of the game... very similar to the gentleman who Blues fans have been calling Mr. Dangles for the past few seasons.
Are there similarities? Absolutely. Perron has been good for nearly fifty points for the past two seasons, and he had 13 goals with 14 assists his rookie year. Is that unreasonable to expect of Burmistrov for this season? Burmistrov, while with the Barrie Colts last season, scored 22 goals and 43 assists in 62 games played. His last season in Juniors, Perron scored 39 goals and 44 assists in 70 games. Perron might tend to have a higher offensive output, but both he and Burmistrov can pull players out of position, fake them out of their skates, and pot a pretty highlight reel goal. Burmie's just had less time to show people how he can't play. He'll be scoring a few more goals like the one he scored last night this season to draw attention that at number 8 overall, Atlanta got themselves a steal.